Retirement communities, assisted living facilities and nursing homes all share one thing in common: they’re places where our senior loved ones go to live out their twilight years in comfort and safety, where their needs can be cared for and they can be in a social community of like-minded people. When the very staff they depend on for their care act carelessly, recklessly or abusively, it’s not just terrifying, it’s infuriating.
There is no sense of betrayal like that felt when our beloved senior relatives suffer nursing home abuse. Learn what to do if your senior loved one has suffered abuse at the hands of negligent nursing home staff, and how a lawyer can get you justice.
Assisted Living Facility Responsibilities
Assisted living facilities, which are between independent living communities and nursing homes, have certain responsibilities towards residents. These include providing meals, helping with the needs of daily life, aiding in caring for living spaces, meeting medical needs including medication, appointments, and healthcare monitoring, and in planning social events for the residents.
When they fail to meet these duties and don’t exercise a reasonable standard of care towards their residents, the staff of these facilities (and the facilities themselves) can be held negligent and liable for resulting damages. This could present as a violation of state laws, as breaching a contract, of abuse, or of malpractice, depending on specific circumstances.
Negligence or Malpractice?
It can sometimes seem like there’s a fine line between negligence and malpractice, and it’s true—malpractice is a form of negligence, but negligence is much broader than malpractice. The key lies in applying a “reasonable person” standard to the case.
If the staff behave in a way that’s contrary to the way another medical professional would behave, that may be malpractice. If their behavior is contrary to the way in which any reasonable person would act in a given situation, that’s negligence.
Whether the behavior of a specific assisted living facility is one or the other depends largely on state laws and the specific actions of which they’re being accused. Failing to provide healthcare needs, give medication on time or the like may be malpractice, while failing to help clean the living area of the resident which results in them falling and getting hurt could be negligence.
What Can I Do?
The first thing to keep in mind is that elder abuse may carry criminal penalties as well as civil, and your loved one’s safety is paramount. The first thing to do is call law enforcement and any local state elder care offices. Second, you should immediately contact an elder law attorney if you need to take negligent nursing home staff to task.
Your loved one may be entitled to significant damages for any injuries they have suffered while under this negligent care, and the right attorney can help them collect the damages they deserve. Stewart Bell, PLLC will act quickly to address the issue and make sure your senior loved one’s rights are completely protected. Contact us today or fill out our free claim review form, and we’ll apply our 30 years of experience in reviewing your case.